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Annual report of the Secretary-General on children and armed conflict
 
[29 August 2019] – On 20 June 2019, the UN released the Annual Report of the Secretary-General on Children and Armed Conflict. The report highlights global trends regarding the impact of armed conflict on children in 15 locations currently on the agenda of the Security Council, including Israel and Palestine. The report covers the period January to December 2018.
 
In relation to child detention, the report notes that the “United Nations received affidavits from 127 Palestinian boys who, during interviews with the United Nations, reported ill-treatment and breaches of due process during their arrest, transfer and detention. The United Nations documented four cases of the administrative detention of Palestinian children in 2018.”
 
This year’s report again omits to mention that most Palestinian child detainees are forcibly transferred and/or unlawfully detained in prisons located in Israel in violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention and potentially the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court. It is unclear why this information is sometimes omitted but it is relevant to note that the forcible transfer of child detainees from the West Bank is classed as a war crime under the Convention and the evidence of its occurrence comes from the Israeli Prison Service
 
Since 2006, the Secretary-General has referred to the forcible transfer of children in six annual reports on children and armed conflict, most recently in 2014. (See table below for further details)
 
      Annual Reports of the Secretary-General on Children and Armed Conflict – Article 76 violation

Year

Forcible Transfer of Children

 2006

“As at 30 September 2006, 389 Palestinian children, including two 12-year-old boys, had been detained by the Israeli army in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, often following transport of the children out of the Occupied Palestinian Territory and into Israel.” 
“The systematic transfer of Palestinian child prisoners outside the Occupied Palestinian Territory into Israel is in direct violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention.” 
“At any given point during the reporting period, between 281 and 337 Palestinian children were being held in Israeli prisons and detention centres, including children as young as 12 years, in violation of international humanitarian law.” 
No mention 
No mention 
“In 2011, 59 children from the West Bank were reportedly transferred to prison inside Israel in contravention of the Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War.” 
“According to the Israeli Prison Service, 73 child detainees were transferred to prisons inside Israel during the reporting period. Such transfers contravene article 76 of the Fourth Geneva Convention.” 

2014 

“A higher percentage of children were detained in prison facilities inside Israel (76 per cent, compared with 63 in 2012) with at least three out of four children being transferred outside the occupied Palestinian territory in contravention of the Fourth Geneva Convention.” 
2015 No mention
2016 No mention 
2017 No mention 
2018 No mention 
2019 No mention 
 
Links
  • Israeli Military Courts Briefing Note (2019) – Military authorities rely on the Fourth Geneva Convention as the legal basis for prosecuting Palestinian civilians in military courts.
     
  • 10 European and Canadian foreign ministers criticize Russia for forcibly transferring Ukranian detainees from Crimea to Russia in violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention. The ministers support targeted sanctions to uphold the rule of law.